I know it's Saturday, but I work on Fridays okay? And we mustn't blog at work oh no definitely we must not.
This is me being a 12 year old tourist in Perth, circa 1976. I was digging around recently in the old photo albums to show the firstborn some pictures of quokkas and other Westralian
I like the spontaneity of the photograph and the sheer, honest, delighted smile on my face. Usually when faced with a camera I didn't know what to do, despite years of knitting pattern modelling jobs and magazine shoots and the odd television commercial. Without a professional director I was hopelessly awkward in front of cameras.
I remember a few weeks prior to that holiday my mother suddenly realised I had no wardrobe suitable for two whole weeks away. I wore a school uniform five days a week and owned probably one pair of jeans for weekend wear and a skirt or two. Mum and I took a special trip to Southland to purchase an A-line skirt pattern, fabrics and three long sleeved plain t-shirts including the blue one in this photo. She then proceeded to sew me three skirts, the blue one above which if I close my eyes I can remember was cool and crisp to the touch, a green patterned one which was my least favourite, and another that I can't recall. I know there were three though, and with my new sandals (with heels! my first!) bingo, I had A Wardrobe. Of course, this being the 1970s she also bought me a green and white striped long t-shirt dress. Full length. Horizontal stripes. I'm not showing photos of that one.
And it was hell to climb trees in.
As you can see I was a skinny little thing; flat chested and with chicken legs. And even then I couldn't do a thing with my hair. Not much has changed, although shortly after that holiday I took up sailing and spent years hanging by my toes over the side of a small dinghy (safety harnesses are for wimps) which built up my calf muscles considerably. My legs never looked quite so scrawny ever again.
That family holiday to Perth was an absolute cracker. We took the Transcontintental train across the desert from Melbourne to Perth; a journey that took 3 nights and 4 days. My brother and I spent the days roaming the train, rapidly acquiring the rolling gait of sailors and train travellers necessary to accommodate the train's rhythmic swaying motion, hanging out in the Club Car with its card tables, leather seats and a piano if I'm not rather romantically making that up, peering at the intimidatingly posh folk in First Class, pitying the poor plebs in Third Class who had to sit up in seats all the way, and being grateful that we in Second Class had tiny wee sleeper compartments with Lilliputian beds which the Carriage Butler folded out of the wall each evening and made up with crisp cotton sheets while you ate in the Dining Car (Second Sitting for Second Class Passengers).
The train track from Adelaide to Perth features the world's longest unbroken stretch of utterly dead straight train track. The track isn't fixed to the soft red desert sand, but just laid down and as a result, the train can only travel at a maximum speed of 60kph. That was in 1976; I wonder if it's still the case. The kangaroos (red, to match the desert and totally unlike our grey ones here) used to lope alongside the train in slow motion, racing us and winning, effortlessly.
The atmosphere of that train trip permeated the whole of our two weeks' holiday in Perth. It felt exotic, dreamlike and somehow magically removed from the everyday reality of our lives.
We travelled to Perth again four years later when I was sixteen, but journeyed by car that time. Unlike the train, the road hugs the coast and the landscape is not nearly as spectacular as that seen from the windows of the train. It was a trip with an entirely different flavour.
More Flashback Fridays here.